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Dr Norman Rosenthal talks about transcendence in live webcast lecture
by Global Good News staff writer
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9 October 2012
Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, spoke to a live audience of about 1,000 people recently about the mental and physical health impacts of practising Transcendental Meditation. His talk was entitled, Transcendental Meditation, Stress, and Self-Healing.
The event was presented in a 'webinar' format in which health professionals were invited to listen in and ask questions at the end.
Dr Rosenthal, the author or coauthor of over 200 professional articles and 5 popular books, spoke first about the distinct state of transcendence that is experienced during Transcendental Meditation.
'It is [a state] which is both calm and alert at the same time. You know normally when we're calm, we're kind of sleepy and when we're alert we're awake and aroused, but this combines these two areas.'
He added that, despite popular opinion, different forms of meditation are quite distinct from each other. 'Every kind of meditation asks you to do something different with your brain.'
He then talked about the unique brain activity that occurs during the practice of Transcendental Meditation, one aspect of which is the occurrence of alpha wave patterns.
Dr Rosenthal explained, 'The alpha rhythms are associated with calmness, they're associated with reflection and delving internally. . . . That is what is found when you transcend, not only a sweep of alpha rhythms, but also something called coherence.'
To illustrate his point, he showed EEG scans taken during Transcendental Meditation.
'So here you see in the brain during meditation, increased alpha waves in general, but particularly in that important prefrontal cortex where the executive decisions are being made. Increase in coherence in alpha and beta waves, [which] is found when people meditate... [means] people become less stressed and better able to make decisions.'
Dr Rosenthal was quick to add that this coherence extends outside of meditation into normal daily life. Not only does it lead to better decisions, but also to improved health and longevity.
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